The Chalk Girl (Kathleen Mallory Series #10)

The Chalk Girl (Kathleen Mallory Series #10)

4.4 38
by Carol O'Connell
     
 

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The eight-year-old girl appeared in New York’s Central Park one day: red-haired, blue-eyed, dirty-faced, smiling widely. She looked perfect, like a porcelain fairy—except for the blood on her shoulders. It fell from the sky, she told the police. It happened while she was looking for her Uncle Red, who had turned into a tree. Right, they thought, poor child… See more details below

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Overview

The eight-year-old girl appeared in New York’s Central Park one day: red-haired, blue-eyed, dirty-faced, smiling widely. She looked perfect, like a porcelain fairy—except for the blood on her shoulders. It fell from the sky, she told the police. It happened while she was looking for her Uncle Red, who had turned into a tree. Right, they thought, poor child. And then they found the body in the tree.

For Mallory, newly returned to the Special Crimes Unit after three months’ lost time, spent she will not say where, there is something about the girl that she understands. Mallory is damaged, they say, dangerously unstable, but she can tell a kindred spirit when she sees one. And this one will ultimately lead her to a story of extraordinary crimes, to murders stretching back fifteen years, to blackmail and complicity and a particular cruelty that perhaps only someone with Mallory’s history could fully recognize. In the next few weeks, she will deal with them all…in her own way.

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Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
The Chalk Girl is an event of sorts—any Mallory book is—and works decently as a stand-alone. But it has a complicated, grisly New York City plot that keeps Mallory in the background and that could not be more Scandinavian if Stieg Larsson had devised it. Like the Dragon Tattoo books it abounds with malicious familial relationships, damaging psychological histories, bizarre acts of cruelty and small talk tinged with sadism. What offsets this nastiness is Ms. O'Connell's elegant wit…
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Near the start of bestseller O’Connell outstanding 10th novel featuring New York City cop Kathy Mallory (after 2006’s Find Me), the enigmatic Mallory, despite having been declared mentally unfit to return to duty following an unexplained three month long absence, nonchalantly reclaims her desk in the Special Crimes Unit. Nobody questions “Mallory the Machine,” especially after she connects with a savantlike child found wandering alone in Central Park. Eight-year-old Coco has witnessed a kidnapping and murder, but the girl is incapable of describing the killer. The murder of Coco’s uncle is one of three similar crimes that Mallory begins to suspect are linked to a couple of cold cases as well as to pervasive corruption among the city’s elite. O’Connell’s awesome ability to weave a taut, complex plot works with Mallory’s equally awesome detective skills as she unearths each crystalline facet of crimes both past and present. Author tour. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“O’Connell has raised the standard for psychological thrillers.”—Chicago Tribune

“Before Salander took the world by storm, there was Mallory, the most gloriously original heroine to grace crime fiction’s meanest and darkest streets.” —Sarah Weinman, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind

“O’Connell’s wonderful Mallory novels are among the best crime fiction ever written.”—San Jose Mercury News

Library Journal
It has been five years since O'Connell gave us a new novel in her Mallory series, but the action picks up only a few weeks after we last saw Mallory melting down in Find Me. Once again, a child is in jeopardy, one who may be a witness to a series of grisly crimes in New York's Central Park. Coco is an unusual child, but she charms even the antisocial detective Mallory, though her partner, Riker, and friend Charles Butler doubt how deeply she can care for the little girl. But Mallory, who predates both Dexter Morgan and Lisbeth Salander as an unlikely crime-stopping sociopath, does care for Coco—in her own violently protective way. As Mallory and Riker unravel the mystery, older crimes are uncovered, along with the ways adults repeatedly fail the children around them. VERDICT O'Connell offers more than a suspenseful tale; she portrays a complex world of dark and light, corruption and love, in a New York City that retains its grittiness. Another must-read in a compelling and rich crime series. [See Prepub Alert, 7/11/11.]—Devon Thomas, DevIndexing, Chelsea, MI
Kirkus Reviews
A complex, gritty thriller that is at once hard to take and hard to put down. It opens with a woman taking a group of schoolchildren on a visit to Sheep Meadow, part of Manhattan's Central Park. After the children wander off, she collapses and dies from a massive stroke, and a horde of rats gnaw on her corpse. A mysterious 8-year-old waif named Coco appears and displays considerable knowledge of vermin. One of a series of novels featuring NYPD detective Kathy Mallory, this book has a number of surprising and grisly twists. The characters are fascinating, though, including crazy Mallory, who had once been a street urchin herself and now brings a unique perspective to her job. Coco has Williams Syndrome, a condition that manifests itself partly in excessive desire to be loved, even by strangers. Give her a hug and she's cool, but don't get her started talking about rats. Meanwhile, Mallory investigates the murder of a schoolboy named Ernest Nadler--Dead Ernest--who has been systematically tormented by a small group of other children. Who are they, and why did they do it? Has someone put them up to the crime? No doubt children exist who are capable of such evil, although they are hard to imagine. And perhaps such children--speaking of vermin--need no particular motivation to inflict themselves on a classmate. But the ultimate motivation for the crime and the deep, insane intrafamily hatred seem rather hard to believe. Hardly the craziest character in the story, Mallory pursues the case with a certain emotional detachment. She gets in the faces of powerful people even as she strives to protect the strange Coco, who doesn't seem surprised when rats fall from the sky. Readers who dislike tales of torture and murder of children will take a pass on this one, but those who relish justice will be glad they read to the end.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101565803
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/17/2012
Series:
Kathleen Mallory Series , #10
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
528
Sales rank:
78,463
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

“O’Connell has raised the standard for psychological thrillers.”—Chicago Tribune

“Before Salander took the world by storm, there was Mallory, the most gloriously original heroine to grace crime fiction’s meanest and darkest streets.” —Sarah Weinman, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind

“O’Connell’s wonderful Mallory novels are among the best crime fiction ever written.”—San Jose Mercury News

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